Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
It is a strange errand that you are sent upon — not as dogs to fight
with the wolves. Yet you are to fight with them, but you are to go as
lambs in the midst of wolves. Expect, therefore that they will rend
you. Bear much, for ever in that you shall conquer. If they kill you,
you shall be honoured in your death. As I have often said, the fight
looks very unequal between sheep and wolves, yet at the present moment
there are vastly more sheep in the world than wolves, the sheep having
outlived the wolves. In this country at any rate, the last wolf is
gone, and the sheep, with all their weaknesses, continue to multiply.
“That is due,” you say, “to the shepherd.” And to him shall your safety
and your victory be due. He will take care of you. “I send you forth as
sheep among wolves.” But do not, therefore, provoke the wolves. “Be
wise as serpents.” Have a holy prudence. “Be as harmless as doves,” but
not as silly as doves
Matthew 10:17-19. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the
councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall
be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony
against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no
thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that
same hour what ye shall speak.
And very remarkable were the answers given by the martyrs to those who
persecuted them. In some cases they were altogether unlettered men,
feeble women, unused to the quibbles and the catches which ungodly wise
men use, and yet with is holy ability they answered all their
adversaries and often stopped their mouths. It is wonderful what God
can make of the weakest of men when he dwelleth in them, and speaks
Matthew 10:20-21. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your
Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the
brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise
up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Strange venom of human nature. It never grows so angry against anything
as against God’s truth. Why is this? False religions will tolerate one
another but they will not tolerate the religion of Christ. Is not this
all accounted for by that old dark saying at the gates of Eden, “I will
put enmity between thee and the woman — between thy seed and her seed.”
That enmity is sure to come up as long as the world stands.
Matthew 10:22-23. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but
he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you
in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall
not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
They had not been able to get all through Palestine before the
destruction of Jerusalem. Perhaps we shall scarcely have been able to
preach the gospel in every part of the world before our Master’s speedy
footsteps shall be heard.